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Month 2: Stephen King’s IT Read-a-Long

Anna and I are co-hosting the Stephen King IT Read-a-Long.  We are having discussions once per month through the end of the year about the parts we’ve read.

For the first discussion of part 1, plus the following interlude, go here.

For part 2’s discussion, please visit Diary of an Eccentric today.

Each month you will have the option to answer the questions on the hosting blog or in your own post, but please go back to the monthly host to leave your discussion link.

Remember that these posts can contain spoilers.

For our 3rd discussion, we will be reading part 3 and the discussion will be hosted here on Oct. 31 in time for Halloween, but please visit Anna’s blog for today’s discussion.

Month 1: Stephen King’s IT Read-a-Long

Welcome to the first discussion post for Stephen King’s IT Read-a-Long.  I hope you’ve had time to read the first part whether it be in broad daylight or under the covers in the dark with a book light.

Today we’re (Anna and myself, plus anyone else who plans on joining) going to talk about the first part of the book, plus the first interlude.

I’ve read IT before, but at a younger age and the book scared me silly.  However, it didn’t stop me from enjoying the horror genre or reading Stephen King books.  I was excited when Anna agreed to a read-a-long of the book, because honestly I don’t think she would have tackled it on her own…simply because of the clown!  I could be wrong though.  Anyway, I started reading part one and it all flooded back to me and I was right there with old acquaintances in Derry, Maine.  What is striking to me is how well King uses third-person omniscient POV.  You get to see everything these characters are, have been, and wish to have been, and the fear they have of Derry and the promise they made is powerful.

IT is described as a clown, but there is something darker and sinister about Pennywise — his yellow eyes and sharp teeth — and it seems as though he’s a metaphor for other things in the town, especially when you read about the homosexual bias and other hate that pervades the small town.  Is he just a manifestation of the dark undercurrent of the town, or is he a real demon clown bent on killing children?  Only time will tell.

For some reason, beyond Stuttering Bill (Georgie’s older brother), Eddie has always been memorable.  I think part of it has to do with his wife and how much she resembles his over-protective mother.  But at the same time, his wife, Marty, is so dependent upon him.  You feel him being pulled in two directions, between his childhood promise and his wife.

One thing I notice now that I probably didn’t notice as a kid is the similarities between Bill Denbrough and Stephen King in terms of writing horror stories.  It also made me wonder about whether King had similar thoughts to Denbrough about a teacher,  or maybe an agent or publisher, who didn’t appreciate his writing.

Book cover of the edition I read as a kid

These are my initial thoughts, what about you?  But first, here are some questions that I’d like to pose:

1.  Is this your first time reading Stephen King?  If so, what have you enjoyed about the reading so far?  How’s the writing?  If this is not your first time, what’s brought you back to reading Stephen King?

2.  What are your first impressions of the characters you’ve been introduced to so far?

3.  Pennywise the Clown lives in dark places like the sewer, do you think he’s real?  Scary?

4.  How do you feel about the use of an Interlude between the parts?  what purpose do you think it serves?

Please feel free to pose your own questions in the comments.

If you’d like to link up to the discussion, please do so in the Mr. Linky below:

In September, on Sept. 28, we’ll be discussing Part 2, plus the interlude on Diary of an Eccentric.  For the rest of the schedule, go here.

Stephen King’s IT Read-a-Long

Created by Monniblog

Bring in the dark, the creepy, and the clowns!  Yes, you heard me right.  It’s time to begin the Stephen King’s IT Read-a-Long!

Today marks the start of my read-a-long with Anna from Diary of an Eccentric, who is afraid of clowns.  Anna and I will be discussing this book on our blogs for alternating months.

This month on Aug. 24, we’ll be posting our discussion on my blog for part 1, which includes: Part 1:  The Shadow Before and Derry:  The First Interlude

And next month, on Sept. 28, we’ll be discussing part 2 on her blog.  For the rest of the schedule, go here.

How will you be reading IT?  In broad daylight? At the beach? In the dark? Under the covers?  Won’t you join us?

Enemy Women Read-a-Long at War Through the Generations

Anna and I hope you will join us for the August read-a-long of Enemy Women by Paulette Jiles as part of the U.S. Civil War Reading Challenge 2011.

We will read a handful of chapters every week throughout August, and every Friday, we will post discussion questions on War Through the Generations.

We welcome you to post your thoughts on your blog and provide a link or just type your thoughts in the comments section of the discussion post; whatever works best for you.  You can answer our questions or just discuss whatever you found most interesting in each section.

If you are interested in reading along with us, please let us know.  You don’t have to be participating in the U.S. Civil War Reading Challenge 2011 to join us!

Here’s a bit about the book from the publisher:

For the Colleys of southeastern Missouri, the War between the States is a plague that threatens devastation, despite the family’s avowed neutrality. For eighteen-year-old Adair Colley, it is a nightmare that tears apart her family and forces her and her sisters to flee.

The treachery of a fellow traveler, however, brings about her arrest, and she is caged with the criminal and deranged in a filthy women’s prison. But young Adair finds that love can live even in a place of horror and despair. Her interrogator, a Union major, falls in love with her and vows to return for her when the fighting is over. Before he leaves for battle, he bestows upon her a precious gift: freedom.

Now an escaped “enemy woman,” Adair must make her harrowing way south buoyed by a promise … seeking a home and a family that may be nothing more than a memory.

Here’s the schedule for the read-a-long:

Week One: Prologue – Chapter 6; discussion on Fri., Aug. 5

Week Two: Chapters 7-15; discussion on Fri., Aug. 12

Week Three: Chapters 16-24; discussion on Fri., Aug. 19

Week Four: Chapters 25-31; discussion/final thoughts on Fri., Aug. 26

Villette by Charlotte Bronte Read-a-Long Week 2

Unputdownables is hosting a Villette by Charlotte Bronte read-a-long for the next couple of months.  And this is the second week of discussion (click on the image to see my earlier posts)

For this week, we had to read chapters 6-11.

Stay tuned next Thursday, Feb. 24, 2010, for the next discussion.

We begin with Lucy Snowe in London where she feels a sense of freedom that she has not felt previously, at least what we can tell from the narrative thus far. She seems positive and eager to begin her new life given the open possibilities before her.

“I saw and felt London at last:  I got into the Strand; I went up Cornhill; I mixed with the life passing along; I dared the perils of crossings.  To do this, and to do it utterly alone, gave me, perhaps an irrational, but a real pleasure.”  (page 53)

Alas, the plot pace continues in rapid succession and despite the “Gothic” storm and sea elements, Miss Snowe begins yet another adventure in the late evening and boards a vessel slated to depart the next day. Our narrator seems not only fearless, but also a bit naive in the ways of the world given her penchant for over paying and her decisions to board boats in the late evening despite her position as an unmarried woman.  However, what better place for her to observe more people and make commentary about not only their personalities, but their behavior and social status.  It is clear from the few interactions and the many observations she’s made about people around her that she has very well-defined opinions, and many of them are harsh.  What does this tell us about her personality and her behavior?  Upon reading these passages, readers may get the sense that she both values and fears the opinion of others, which forces her to shrink into the background as an observer whenever possible but does not prevent her from speaking her mind to a certain extent.  For example, she has no qualms about telling the steward once she is aboard The Vivid that she knows she paid the boatman too much or telling the stewardess that now that she has arrived on board she has not plans to leave no matter the lateness of the hour.

While a determined young woman, Miss Snowe does leave quite a bit up to chance and fate, following blindly an inner voice who speaks occasionally about which destination should be next.  Arriving in France, this voice explains that she must go to Villette where a young Miss Fanshawe from the boat said she was going.  Again she relies on fate to get her where she needs to go and often relies on the kindness of strangers when misfortunes befall her.  Once employed by Madame Beck, she waffles between the adventurous woman who left her home nation in search of work and a young woman scared of her current surroundings and the challenges they impose.

Although her opinions and observations are very clear about other people, her own observations about herself are often incongruous with her actions.  In one instance, her determination to prove Madame Beck wrong about her “spineless” nature spurs her to actions that readers may find disturbing and a bit out of character once in a classroom with students outside the nursery who speak French eloquently.  Meanwhile, Miss Fanshawe reappears and the banter between her and Miss Snowe is entertaining, but also sheds more light on our narrator’s personality, prejudices, and faults.

Overall, this section of the book is revealing of the narrator’s character and her ability to interact with others in a foreign land without speaking the language.  While it highlights her adventurous and spontaneous nature, it also serves to show how complex she is when making decisions that concern herself versus decisions that others must make for themselves.  Miss Snowe is an enigma, which is slowly unraveling.

Stay tuned next Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011, for the next discussion.

Villette by Charlotte Bronte Read-a-Long Part 1

Unputdownables is hosting a Villette by Charlotte Bronte read-a-long for the next couple of months.  And this is the first week of discussion.

For this week, we had to read the first five chapters of the novel.

The narrator begins by talking of her godmother and her family in Bretton and how she enjoyed being at their house.  We soon learn in the first chapter that her godmother has agreed to take charge of a young girl, Paulina, who has lost her mother and whose father has been told to travel to calm his ailments and recover from grief.

Miss Lucy Snowe is our narrator and she loves to observe her family members and Paulina as they interact with one another and when they are alone.  She has a particular interest in Paulina (Polly) given that the young girl wants to accomplish so much without help, but is not tall enough to complete certain tasks on her own at least not without difficulty.  What’s intriguing is the relationship that blossoms between Mrs. Bretton’s son, Graham, and Paulina.  Without her father, she seems to be seeking another man to look up to and take care of, but Graham is a young man in school with his own priorities and friends, though he does enjoy spending time teasing Paulina.

There also are some similarities between Polly and Lucy in how they interact with others, seeming to want more attention, but unsure how to get it without seeming overly needy.  While Polly takes it to the needy extreme, Lucy often seems too aloof.

Alas, things change and Miss Snowe and Paulina must part company with the Brettons and face the next leg of their own journeys.  The narrator finds herself looking for engagement once at home and is offered one position with a neighbor in need of consistent assistance.  Brontë inserts some Gothic elements in the narration — especially the storms and Aurora Borealis — which provide readers with an atmosphere of mystery and suspense.

While it is unclear where the narration is headed and what will happen to Miss Snowe given her current financial circumstances, it is clear that she is a character of determination and intuition.  It will be interesting to see where this leads.

***As an aside, I’ve purposely not read much about this novel or any reviews to keep my experience with it unencumbered.

Stay tuned next Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011, for the next discussion.

Stephen King’s IT Read-a-Long 2011

Created by Monniblog

Anna and I have talked about reading Stephen King’s IT together for a long while, so we decided this would be the year.  I haven’t read this novel since I was about 10 years old, which is probably why I had nightmares at the time.  I think its time to read it again.

We’ve come up with a schedule, and we’re announcing it early so that other people can join us.

The read-a-long will run from August through December, and we’ll be reading one part per month, plus the immediate interlude following each part.

For example, in August, we’ll be reading Part 1:  The Shadow Before and Derry:  The First Interlude.

We’ve also set up a posting schedule for our discussions:

August 24: Discussion of part 1 on Savvy Verse & Wit

Sept. 28:  Discussion of part 2 on Diary of an Eccentric

Oct. 31:  Discussion of part 3 on Savvy Verse & Wit

Nov. 30:  Discussion of part 4 on Diary of an Eccentric

Dec. 21:  Discussion of part 5 on Savvy Verse & Wit

We welcome anyone who wishes to join us.

You can visit the our blogs on the appointed dates for the discussions or if you prefer right up your thoughts on your own blog and post a link to your post on the day of the discussions.

Villette Read-a-Long

I’m sure you’ve heard of UnputdownablesVillette by Charlotte Bronte read-a-long, which begins next month.

I have not officially signed up, only because my due date for the baby is fast approaching.  However, I do plan to participate as much as possible before she’s born and afterward, so some posts may not meet the current schedule:

Beginning Tuesday, February 1st and ending Thursday, March 31st

Week #/ dates :: Chapters to Read

Week One/ February 1st-7th :: ch. 1-5 (i.e. read chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5)
Week Two/ February 8th-14th :: ch. 6-11
Week Three/ February 15th-21st :: ch. 12-17
Week Four/ February 22nd-28th :: ch. 18-22
Week Five/ March 1st-March 7th :: ch. 23-27
Week Six/ March 8th-March 14th :: ch. 28-32
Week Seven/ March 15th-March 21st :: ch. 33-37
Week Eight/ March 22-March 28th :: ch. 38-42

Catch up days, and extra days to process book before final review :: March 29th-31st.

It looks like the Thursday discussion post dates are as follows: (from what I’ve deduced)

Week 1: February 10
Week 2: February 17
Week 3: February 24
Week 4: March 3
Week 5: March 10
Week 6: March 17
Week 7: March 24
Week 8: March 31

If I don’t participate in all the discussions or postings, I will for sure continue reading along and post my final review at the end of March.

I hope others will join the read-a-long challenge; this is one book that I’ve wanted to read for a long time, along with some others from the Brontes.

If you want more information about the Villette Read-a-Long, please visit Unputdownables.

Week #4 Matterhorn Discussion

Today is week 4 of the Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes read-a-long that Anna and I started for the Vietnam War Reading Challenge‘s last hurrah!

Every Friday throughout December, Anna and I have discussed the chapters we’ve read of Matterhorn.

Today’s discussion on War Through the Generations will be about the final Chapters 16-23!

If you’d like to join us, please do so.  We’d love to hear your thoughts on the book.  Even if you join us later on in the month, we won’t mind.  We love book discussions.

Weigh in with your final thoughts on Matterhorn!

***Stay tuned for my final review of 2010 — Matterhorn.***

Week #3 Matterhorn Discussion

Today is week 3 of the Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes read-a-long that Anna and I started for the Vietnam War Reading Challenge‘s last hurrah!

Every Friday throughout December, Anna and I will be discussing the chapters we’ve read of Matterhorn.

Today’s discussion on War Through the Generations will be about Chapters 11-15!

If you’d like to join us, please do so.  We’d love to hear your thoughts on the book.  Even if you join us later on in the month, we won’t mind.  We love book discussions.

You know you’re curious.  Go on, check it out!

Week #2 Matterhorn Discussion

Today is week 2 of the Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes read-a-long that Anna and I started for the Vietnam War Reading Challenge‘s last hurrah!

Every Friday throughout December, Anna and I will be discussing the chapters we’ve read of Matterhorn.

Today’s discussion on War Through the Generations will be about Chapters 6-10!

If you’d like to join us, please do so.  We’d love to hear your thoughts on the book.  Even if you join us later on in the month, we won’t mind.  We love book discussions.

Go on, check it out; you know you want to!

Check Out the Read-a-Long of Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes

Today is the official start of the Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes read-a-long that Anna and I started for the Vietnam War Reading Challenge‘s last hurrah!

Every Friday throughout December, Anna and I will be discussing the chapters we’ve read of Matterhorn.

Today’s discussion on War Through the Generations will be about Chapters 1-5!

If you’d like to join us, please do so.  We’d love to hear your thoughts on the book.  Even if you join us later on in the month, we won’t mind.  We love book discussions.

Go on over and check it out!